Who is BP's Interim CEO?

Who is BP's Interim CEO?
BP revealed this week that its Chief Financial Officer, Murray Auchincloss, will act as the company's CEO on an interim basis.
Image by stanisluva via iStock

BP revealed this week that its Chief Financial Officer, Murray Auchincloss, will act as the company’s CEO on an interim basis after Bernard Looney resigned with immediate effect amid an ongoing probe into personal relationships with company colleagues. 

But who is Auchincloss?

Well, according to BP’s website, his “financial expertise, experience, and knowledge make him a trusted advisor and group leader”.

“His broad experience of working across the group has provided him with deep insight into BP’s assets and businesses,” BP’s site states, highlighting that the new interim CEO has a degree in commerce from the University of Calgary, Canada, and qualified as a chartered financial analyst at the University of West Virginia.

“His drive to modernize is improving BP’s financial teams, controlling costs, and continuing to deliver transparent financial disclosures to investors and markets,” the site notes.

Auchincloss has held a “wide range” of tax and financial roles, BP’s site points out, “first for Amoco and then for BP after the two organizations merged in 1998”.

He has worked in both the U.S. and the UK, in a range of roles including chief financial officer, upstream, and chief financial officer, North Sea. He was the chief financial officer of the company’s North American Gas business and, as head of the chief executive’s office for three years, managed all aspects of that office and the executive process, BP’s site highlights.

As chief financial officer, a role he took up in July 2020, Auchincloss headed up the finance, tax, treasury, planning and performance management, mergers and acquisitions, investor relations, audit, global business services, and procurement.

A Canadian national, Auchincloss is currently a member of the board of directors for Aker BP ASA, Norway, and a member of the 100 Group Main Committee.

In a statement announcing the retirement of ex-CFO Brian Gilvary and the appointment of Auchincloss to the position, BP Chairman Helge Lund said, “after a thorough selection process, the board is pleased to have chosen Murray as BP’s next CFO”.

“With his international financial and commercial experience and a deep understanding of the whole group, he will play an important role as BP continues to develop in a fast-changing energy market,” he added at the time.

In that statement, Looney said, “I have worked side by side with Murray for many years and have the utmost confidence in his ability to step into this critical role”.

Rigzone has asked BP when it will select its next permanent CEO, if Looney will maintain any connection with BP in any function whatsoever, and if BP’s strategy will change as a result of Looney’s departure. At the time of writing, the company has not yet responded to Rigzone.

According to its website, BP remains focused on transforming to an integrated energy company. The business has a three pillar strategy that includes five “transition growth engines”, the site outlines.

“Our three-pillar strategy is unchanged – it is focused on investing in our transition growth engines and, at the same time, investing in today’s energy system. And integration connects it all,” BP’s site states.

“Since we set out our strategy in 2020, our track record of delivery has given us increased confidence as we invest in BP’s transition and the energy transition,” it adds.

In its latest results statement, BP reported a profit of $1.8 billion, an underlying replacement cost profit of $2.6 billion, and net debt of $23.7 billion in the second quarter.

“Another quarter of performing while transforming,” Looney said in that results statement.

“Our underlying performance was resilient with good cash delivery - during a period of significant turnaround activity and weaker margins in our refining business,” he added.

“We’re delivering our strategy at pace - we’ve started up two major oil and gas projects to help keep energy flowing today and we’re accelerating our transformation through our five transition growth engines,” he continued.

“And we’re delivering for shareholders growing our dividend and announcing a further share buyback. This reflects confidence in our performance and the outlook for cash flow, as well as continued progress reducing our share count,” Looney went on to state.

To contact the author, email andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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